What is next for IL-2: Great Battles going into 2020?

The forums are abuzz right now as people sense that development for IL-2: Battle of Bodenplatte, Flying Circus Vol 1, and Tank Crew – Clash at Prokhorovoka are all starting to enter the final stretch of development. To be clear, each of these is still at least a few months away from being done, but with development likely to wrap up by the end of this year or into early next year, people are starting to get excited about what is next. Here are some of my thoughts on how this might go in my latest editorial on the future of this series.

What’s next for the mainline product: IL-2: Great Battles

There’s a through-line for the 1CGS team from IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad to Battle of Bodenplatte and this is what I would call the mainline or the centerpiece of the series. Everything else is surrounding these titles and they are the primary focus for the 1CGS team.

One of the great things about the Great Battles Series is that they have done a few titles in a row focused on a specific battle. It has culminated in a really solid trilogy of Moscow to Stalingrad to Kuban. Fans of the Eastern Front and the WWII air war in general I’m sure appreciate just how strongly these three titles are now connected and how a player can enjoy a career that stretches from 1941 through to the fall of 1943 all on the Eastern Front.

Similarly, multiplayer battles can also strongly make use of that continuity both for big group organized events like the folks at the Air Combat Group or even more casual organized events that run scenario to scenario on a nightly basis.

If IL-2 goes on to do the Pacific theatre (or Korea) as their next stop after just the one title release for the Western Front, I’d be fine with that. That said, I think it’d be magnificent in my opinion if the series had a second Western Front outing as it would strongly build up that continuity providing an interesting and challenging set of scenarios from the channel war to the end of the air war.

Scenarios like Normandy and Italy have both been floated but I think its the Normandy scenario that is most compelling for me and this is why.

From Channel War to Normandy

The IL-2 series has always done tactical air war really well and one of the long fought but oft neglected air wars in the West is that of the channel war in the lead-up to the Normandy invasion. This would again feature the forces of the Luftwaffe defending (and sometimes attacking) against the cross channel attacks staged by the USAAF 9th Air Force and the RAF’s 2nd Tactical Air Force in the lead up to Operation Overlord.

From fighter sweeps to raids on radar stations, bridges, airbases, ammo dumps, and the like, there is significant activity (detailed in the magnificent 2nd Tactical Air Force, Vol. 1: Spartan to Normandy, June 1943 to June 1944 by by Christopher Shores and Chris Thomas) that a career mode and the appropriate map could tackle. Normandy and the D-Day raids have been done before but what about the lead-up to that scenario as well as the aftermath? The green hedgerows of Normandy in full bloom are well known but what about a bleaker winter and spring over that same scenario.

The reason why I get most excited, however, is the aircraft. The P-51B and early P-47D series with their razorback canopies would be enticing. So too would the Typhoon Mark IB. The Luftwaffe used small numbers of Me410 and Do217 aircraft during this time.

Then there’s an aircraft like the Mosquito which I think will be incredibly popular. Bombers like the B-25D could be finished or new ones like the A-20G (with its array of .50cal machine guns) or the Martin B-26 could be introduced. While Bodenplatte had a near wall to wall array of fighters and fighter bombers, a Normandy scenario could help fill in more attack and bomber aircraft (while not leaving fighter fans out in the rain either).

Not only do I think that this would be interesting for Normandy but it would fill in the gaps for Bodenplatte as well. Razorback P-47, P-51Bs and their RAF Mustang Mark III equivalents were were used well into 1945. The Typhoon was an incredible tactical strike force for 1944 and 1945. Though limited in presence, players have oft mentioned aircraft like the Me410 (used as a bomber, a bomber interceptor, and more) as an interesting type to fly.

The biggest problem? The new title would probably need to retread over some familiar territory to fill out the aircraft set. Would 1CGS add the Spitfire IXc to the mix? The same would be for the FW190 with a small window for the A-6 or A-7 variants or a late model Bf109G-6 that would be distinct from the several months earlier Bf109G-6 Collector Plane.

Development time would probably be very short for these fighters but I could be sold on that idea by offering up some more bomber/attack aircraft. A very short developer time on a Bf109G-6 (Late) could be poured into an interesting bomber like the Do217.

And the Pacific?

I would be overjoyed if the IL-2 series eventually returns to the Pacific. One of my first flight sims was Dynamix’s Aces of the Pacific. In my youth I played that sim to death (and probably annoyed everyone by talking about it – I have a blog now to solve that problem :)) and the great carrier battles to the war over New Guinea to the final push at Okinawa and on are all extremely interesting air battles.

There’s been speculation about if the series can do the Pacific, can it do carriers and torpedo aircraft, etc. I honestly think that the only thing holding us back are those Japanese aircraft resources. Getting the full details on the operation and technical details to do these aircraft justice, the way the German, Russian, American and British types have been done, is important. Would we lower our expectations or have 1CGS make some educated guessses? Maybe a little to make it work but not by too much.

What about Tank Crew and Flying Circus?

I have no idea if either of these titles will continue after their current inception, however, if Tank Crew and Flying Circus continue then I see some obvious options.

Tank Crew could make a jump to the Western Front and cover Normandy or the Battle of the Bulge and do so with what I assume would be great interest. Later versions of the M4 Sherman, the M10 Wolverine and Churchill tanks would be fascinating to see modeled. That connection to the air war at the same time would provide ample combined arms possibility.

Flying Circus has the most obvious path forward with another 10-aircraft from the Rise of Flight library perhaps going to 1917 and capturing Bloody April or another scenario from that year. I know I’d love to see the series reintroduce the Handley Page 0-400 and Gotha G.V. The series could also, for the first time, introduce Zeppelins into the mix.

Great potential

There are of course a million ideas out there including the air wars over Italy, Malta, various points in the Pacific, and even a few have called for a return to the Eastern Front sometime.

At this point we don’t know what 1CGS is planning or if we’ll see a different effort from them in some way. Would consumers be interested in seeing one of the third party developers try and build a heavy bomber for example? Would people pay $60 for a fully positioned B-17 with career mode and a scripted single player campaign for example? It’d take 12-16 months to develop from what I’ve been told but maybe it’d be worth it. There are all kinds of wild possibilities for the series.

One thing I think the vast majority of us agree on: We want to see 1CGS succeed and we want to see the series live on. I sure do!

Feel free to share your latest thoughts and ideas in the comments.

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26 Comments Add yours

  1. bigalrico says:

    The excitement remains!
    A few weeks ago there was a former developer of the original series who offered his Lancaster model (complete inside / outside) for free. I hope Jason noticed that. 🙂
    Who wouldn’t like to fly in a B-17/24/29 etc.? The time wouldn’t bother me personally. But I can also understand the voices and arguments that speak against it. After all, it is not easy to generate larger units without negatively influencing the performance and connection (at least in multiplayer). But I also think that could be mastered.
    For TC I wish they would do the Ardennes offensive next. Beside stronger allies we could also use some later vehicles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. harryvoyager says:

      My big hope with a B-17 campaign is that it could open up a B-17 escort campaign. I wouldn’t be interested in flying the big bird, but I would certainly pay $60 to fly escort to one.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. bigalrico says:

        It’d be nice. But even if you would make them only for artificial intelligence, you would have the problem to represent the big bomber units (which might be the biggest problem next to the interior). So one would have either only a mini bomber unit of 12-20 machines (if at all) or performance losses. Someone in the official forum once created a 50 bomber mission with A 20 and at least I had problems with the mission. And now think about it 3 to 4 times the machines.
        I know it sounds negative, and I would love to fly it or at least escort it. But if she comes it will still take a while. I also have the feeling that the Lancaster (despite the offer) probably wouldn’t find its way into the game. There were some day missions at the end of the war, but that would open a barrel again and people would want more and more. Atleast i expect something like that

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Trudy says:

    Maybe one day 1CGS might change their concept and split up aircrafts and maps to sell them separately. This could be necessary when a scenario cant be filled with a reliable set of aircrafts anymore. So heres an example: Normandy map or the canal or whatever you want and the only planes, that were not released before are BV 141, Vought V-173, Defiant, Fi-103R, Fieseler Storch and so on. All these are damn interesting but not suitable for a reliable scenario. I know, I exaggerated and for sure this will not happen in the next project but the number of common but still unreleased planes will decrease and releasing subversions, so releasing the same planes in slightly different versions over and over again, is also not very attractive.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Robert Hamilton says:

    Couldn`t agree more! Would love to see more of the before-D-day Cross channel war! Another thing I for one would be very excited for the chance to fly Lancasters or Halifaxes against german nightfighters or vice verse!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 1_Robert says:

    Great article.

    Bring on Korea, then Vietnam, then Desert storm… etc.
    Wishful thinking I know, but I’d love them to tackle jets beyond the me262.

    Unfortunately the other sim on the market that features jets is unplayable for VR users since you can’t spot beyond 1-2 kms. With that, I hope 1CGS takes on future jet aircraft.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aaron C White says:

      Honestly, I would love it if they stuck in the WWII to the “Pre-Smart Weapons” time range.

      I think there’s a lot of fun things to explore. A Mediterranean/Africa theater would be great to see from them, and could introduce variants of planes we could use for Russia (Hurricanes, some Italian fighters) as well. Personally, I’ve always loved the Finnish conflicts from WWII, and think those could be fun.

      As for more modern stuff, I think a Korea sim would be huge! You get the fun of early jets while still having the late-war piston planes. Carrier Ops with the early war jets would be a blast and something that as near as I know hasn’t really been done in a simulator, at least not in any semi-serious attempt (I think Strike Fighters had some of it via mods). Another fun thing could be other various early conflicts in the middle east following WWII.

      I would love for the Il-2 team to focus on filling out the area I think is pretty under-represented, which is that space between WWII and Korea where not a lot of people tend to focus. With their DM, visuals and planes I think they could make a lot of great modules.

      Like

  5. Baer says:

    Might sound boring, but my hope is that they’ll get the Sim making fuller use of multicores and threads in CPUs. This is the direction of cpu development and the high core count CPUs can bring greater CPU resources to bear for less money.

    It’ll benefit everyone especially the VR crowd.
    After that it’ll give them more headroom to push graphics and CPU intensive modelling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      For sure. I intentionally focused on the big content items for this article but there’s a long wish list of “features” including more multi core support, enhanced graphics, object rendering distance increases, AI, etc.

      Like

  6. Blue 5 says:

    I know it would sell, but Normandy AGAIN!!?! Personally I would find that a little depressing, much as I would love to see a Mossie.

    I would hope rather for a Sicily map, maybe Gothic Line, Guardalcanal, Inchon or something with a little freshness and snap to it.

    I might buy Normandy but for the first time since BoS it would not be early access.

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I’m interested about it being again. The series has only done Normandy once and that was in 2003 with the Ace Expansion Pack. It’s been a few years.

      Italy would be a compelling option perhaps though the aircraft set wouldn’t dovetail as nicely with Bodenplatte. It’s an interesting challenge.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Blue 5 says:

    Normandy would run against DCS. Italy ‘43 – ‘45 or Vistula-Oder would be fairly new and capitalise on existing aircraft..

    But would lack the name recognition of the Overlord area.

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      IMHO, DCS and IL-2 are very similar but there’s a lot of crossover between audiences and it seems that the theatre and scenario matter little – the difference is in if people want a detailed survey sim of a specific WWII warbird or if they want something a little more balanced toward a wider WWII simulation which IL-2 offers. I don’t think Normandy, or Italy, or anything else will make a difference there.

      There is a name recognition thing too, that’s for sure. None of this is to say that an Italy related scenario wouldn’t be awesome. There’s some unique types there including some VERY interesting Italian aircraft and even a few unique Allied types.

      We’ll see what they end up doing 🙂

      Like

  8. Rainer Diabl says:

    The game needs heavy bombers like the B-17, Lancaster, Wellington.
    Really looking forward to the new maps. And like you said, a Overlord scenario would be awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. superetendard3 says:

    As I said in the forum before, the only bad thing about a Normandy scenario with the Typhoon is that it would be the early one. I would like to have the late one for the Bodenplatte timeframe, with the Tempest tail, four blade propeller and maybe higher boost (+11 lb) ^_^

    Like

  10. MacTiré says:

    The partnership with Ugra Media seems to have been a disappointment.

    FC vol.1 was supposed to be complete within a year, according to Jason (release announcement, Nov 2017).
    It’s been 19 months and I’d estimate vol.1 is only just at the halfway point by now.
    All we have are eight aircraft that already existed within RoF – no sign of a map or any assets.
    The aircraft seemed to be the simplest part of the process – they exist in RoF; Ugra’s job was to copy them into the new engine and update the skins while FMs are unchanged – yet it’s still taken them this long.
    The map and assets will take up a lot more time, but both are essential to make FC feel like more than an afterthought.
    Meanwhile Ugra is burning resources that 1C seem not to have in abundance.
    We’ve recently been told that there won’t be a career for FC, and that a vol.2 is not guaranteed – possibly as a cost-saving measure as 1C realise their partnership with Ugra has been a mistake.

    The signs were there; Ugra were responsible for the sub-par Normandy map for DCS (their radio silence on that front in their DCS sub-forum is also illuminating). They were also responsible for creating the physical model of the U-2 which took the better part of a full year (for just the model and skins…) while 1C did the FM.

    That was described as a test to see if they were capable, and it looks like the wrong lesson was taken from that experience.
    I would like to see GB succeed and I was excited by the idea of an updated RoF in the new engine, but I’ve been increasingly disillusioned as the process has ground on with no sign of the problems getting handled.

    An FC which only consists of ten existing aircraft, all fighters and predominantly single-seaters, with very few period-correct ground units, no AI air, a Normandy-standard map and no career is not appealing. If this is the result, I believe 1C would have been better off investing their resources elsewhere.

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      This is all something to consider. There are some mitigating reasons why it took longer than originally planned – I’m sure the early efforts took a lot longer as an external team gets used to the developer tools.

      There are limitations to the FC Vol 1 plan including it not having a career mode from the start.

      I’m not sure if this is the backstory for any of this. If a Vol 2 does happen then I’m sure it will go a little smoother.

      Like

  11. Alex Alyaev says:

    They finally found out how to make carriers on existing engine? Because as I heard tha was a main problem for not having done Pacific.

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      To the best of my knowledge, the idea that carriers don’t work in the engine came from rumours rather than statements from the developers. I’m not convinced that any of it is true.

      Like

  12. Blue 5 says:

    Still voting against Normandy ;P

    Also strikes me that an effort to differentiate it from BoBp (a great decision, which I forecast ages ago), more twins would be needed, translating into a lot of work. Off my head:
    – Mossie
    – 410
    – B-25
    – B-26
    – Ar-234 (collector aircraft)

    However, set against this the other a/c are mainly models of existing aircraft and could conceivably be used in BoBp

    Also, thinking about it, would the map not again have to be huge and very detailed?

    OK, I probably would pre-order but it has been very ‘done’ and hence I would vote for something else.

    Like

  13. SightFlimmer says:

    I wonder if France could serve both as a WWI and WWII map simply by switching the set of 3D objects. The team already has already done the groundwork (excuse the pun) in Rise of Flight.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      That’s an interesting thought. Not sure how much would change and how much overlap there potentially is for that kind of setup.

      There’d still need to be two versions of the map. No-mans land would be green and partially reclaimed for example.

      Certainly the technology and some art assets would be redone.

      Like

      1. SightFlimmer says:

        I agree, two versions of the map would be the easiest solution. And while they are at it, a 20’s – 30’s map for golden age aircraft 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  14. amin ghazzaoui says:

    The north africa map is doable from Cyrenaica down to Egypt ,so why not go there as the next step ? the terrain is not demanding , There is’nt many roads and railway tracks etc . just the med sea shores .

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      It’s less likely as the Team Fusion IL-2 Cliffs of Dover title are working on a North Africa expansion and seeing as both are owned by 1C they will likely not want to compete on setting.

      Like

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